Does your dental practice have software systems that streamline your operations and actively help you achieve your goals? If not, it's time to upgrade. Here's how quality dental appointment, management, imaging, charting and billing software can help to boost your practice.
To Schedule Patient Appointments and Send Reminders
Keeping a full schedule is critical to the overall success of your dental practice. However, it's just as important to make sure you're not overbooked. If your practice stays underbooked and dentists or hygienists have a lot of free time, this can cost your office a lot of money.
On the flip side, if your practice routinely double books appointment slots and patients are made to wait, patient satisfaction will decrease dramatically. Patients may even end up leaving your practice if they always have to wait past their scheduled appointment time to see the dentist.
A high-quality dental appointment software program will allow administrative staff to quickly schedule patient appointments, often using a drag and drop feature. Many will also send automatic appointment reminders to keep schedules as full as possible.
To Plan Patient Treatments
Treatment planning is likely the bread and butter of your dental practice. A good treatment plan not only focuses on the procedures needed to resolve a patient's pain, or reach their aesthetic goals but also on patient education.
Without comprehensive patient education, treatment acceptance rates will lower. While finances are often an issue for patients who decline treatment after their initial exam, many decline treatment simply because they don't understand why they need it or what the consequences are of not having the treatment done.
Many dental practice management software options offer treatment planning and patient education within the program itself, making it easier for associate dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists to talk with patients about their recommended treatment. Treatment acceptance rates typically rise when patients are able to see and understand why a practice is recommending a certain treatment and what will happen if they decline.
To Capture High-Quality Imaging
Imaging is a diagnostic tool at the heart of every dental practice. Without good imaging, it's much more difficult for your dental office staff, including associate dentists and hygienists, to make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. Whether you're simply looking for cavities or attempting to diagnose dental pain without any external evidence, good images are key.
Consider investing in comprehensive dental imaging software. A good program provides better images with more detail, which increases your practice's accuracy and efficacy.
For Charting and Notetaking
Taking comprehensive notes and keeping them in your patients' charts is more important for dentists now than ever before. In the era of HIPAA, meaningful use, and malpractice lawsuits, copious notes could save your practice hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. Dental Economics describes thorough charting as "charting for the jury" and discusses the importance of charting phone calls, patient noncompliance, consent to treatment, patient education, and patient satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Many dental practice management software options offer the ability to keep appointments and phone call notes, procedure notes, and detailed chart information. Often, user names are automatically recorded when staff sign in or out of a patient chart or when they add a note so the information can be traced back to its source, along with the time and date it was added.
For Billing and Payments
Accurate billing and payment recording is as important for your dental office as your imaging, although many dentists are so focused on the treatment side of their practice that they miss issues in the administrative department. Inaccurate insurance billing, late or missing payment reminders, and malfunctioning auto drafts can cost your dental practice thousands of dollars or more every month. It's important to have a dental software that functions as a complete billing and payment system that allows your admin staff to program automatic payments, send out billing statements, submit insurance claims online, and more.
Need to Upgrade Your Dental Software? Assess Your Practice's Specific Needs First
Before selecting a software option for your dental practice, it's important to assess the individual needs of your practice. Every practice is different and as a result, there's no one-size-fits-all software option for billing, scheduling, practice management, treatment planning and imaging.
Think about what your practice needs most and prioritize software options that offer those capabilities. Make a list of deal-breakers and eliminate programs that don't offer your must-haves. Ask if you can "test drive" a program to see if it will truly fit the needs of your dental practice before you make the investment.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. and its divisions do not offer dental practice management or legal advice. Please consult a professional concerning these topics.